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2d Battalion, 41st Armored Infantry Regiment. About 2100 the combat command became involved in a scrambling skirmish with some Germans who had dismounted from half-tracks in the village of Leignon, wheeled a few small guns into position covering the road, and were now able to halt the Americans for some little time. By midnight Collier's advance guard of armored infantry was again on the move but this time with a more ambitious mission. The sortie toward Ciney had become a full-scale attack to aid the hard-pressed 84th Infantry Division and relieve those of its units cut off in Buissonville and Rochefort. [7] German Armor Advances on the VII Corps

When the advance guards of the 2d Panzer Division seized the bridge over the southern arm of the Ourthe at Ortheuville on the 21st, they stood only sixteen miles by road from Marche and less than forty from Dinant and the Meuse. It is difficult to determine whether the 2d Panzer Division and Manteuffel's Fifth Panzer Army were abreast of the German attack schedule or behind it. Certainly Manteuffel was two or three days behind the optimistic predictions generated in Hitler's headquarters, but on the other hand few of the lower field commands had committed themselves to any fixed march calendar. As of the 21st there is no evidence in the German accounts of any pressing concern about the rate at which the Fifth Panzer Army attack was proceeding. After all, Sepp Dietrich's much-touted Sixth Panzer Army had bogged down, the Fifth was well out in front, and German intelligence saw no viable American forces barring the door to the Meuse that had opened between Bastogne and the main valley of the Ourthe.

Manteuffel still had a few problems to solve before he could make the final sprint for the Meuse River in force. Fuel deliveries for his tanks were flagging, his divisions had been fighting day and night since 16 December, a part of his left armored corps was hung up at Bastogne, and his armored corps on the right had been forced to retrace its steps with some appreciable loss in time. Manteuffel's first order, sent to the commander of the XLVII Panzer Corps, was to get the Panzer Lehr out of the Bastogne battle. With the 2d Panzer Division, now free of involvement in the army center, and with the Panzer Lehr and the 116th Panzer Divisions coming up on the left and right, respectively, Manteuffel would have the armor needed for a full-blooded blow northwest to the Meuse, and Dinant. The day of the 22d passed, however, with little activity on the part of the 2d Panzer and with little more than regrouping by Panzer Lehr, which finally had to start the march with part of the division still engaged in the fight for Bastogne.

By the morning of the 23d these two divisions were on the move, but their component parts were widely spaced and

[7] The sources for the history of the 2d Armored are about as informative and complete as is the case with the average armored division. The AAR's compiled by the combat commands contain the bulk of the story. The diary maintained by the division artillery commander, Col. Carl I. Hutton, has been made available to the author. Formal publications of value are: A History of the Second United States Armored Division, 1940-1946 (Atlanta: Albert Love Enterprises, 1946), and History, 67th Armored Regiment (Burnswick, Germany: Georg Westermann, 1945).